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At the age of 40, re-placement looms for be-loved pool
In Boscobel
Bosco swimming pool and slide

BOSCOBEL - Boscobel’s swimming pool is on track to open on Monday, June 6, if rain doesn’t slow  down pool repainting. Pool manager Jacob Young reported that programming will be like year’s past, with swimming classes and other pool activities, including a return of the victorious Stingray swim team.

Any child from age five and up who can swim the width of the shallow end of the pool is welcome on the team, which in 2021 won the year-end conference championship against teams from Dodgeville, Lancaster, Mineral Point, Prairie du Chien and Richland Center.

Information on fees, hours, and sign-up is available at the city website, www.boscobelwisconsin. com.

An aging structure

Pools don’t last forever. In fact, their typical lifespan is just 40 to 50 years. The Boscobel pool opened its doors in 1982, which means it’s time to start thinking about what comes next.

“When they sandblasted it to paint it, they said the concrete was in pretty good shape,” reported Mike Reynolds, Boscobel’s director of public works/ city engineer. Still, its days are numbered.

Boscobel isn’t alone—many of our neighbors, including Fennimore, Lancaster and Richland Center, have recently upgraded or replaced pools of a similar vintage.

Richland Center

“It was a very lengthy process, and it was a very expensive process,” said Pat Elliott, park board president of the city of Richland Center. There were many adjustments to the initial design based on budget considerations, according to Elliott.

For instance, the original design called for two water slides. It took two years to raise the money for the second one, and by the time the funds were available, the slide had tripled in price. At the end of the day, the entire project cost roughly $4.8 million, with $2 million of that coming from donations. It took 3.5 years from design to completion, and Richland Center was without a pool for one of those years.

Features that made it into the final design, completed last year, include a water slide, a lazy river pool, a zero-depth entry area for toddlers, and a splash pad accessible to the kids outside the aquatic center fence.

“It’s been a total success. We’re getting a lot of people in,” said Elliott. The pool staff tracks ZIP codes of users, and the pool is clearly drawing outsiders to the city. “It’s amazing how many people show up from out of our area,” said Elliott.

This year, the project was nominated and won the 2020 Outstanding Facility Design and Renovation Award from the Wisconsin Parks and Recreation Association.

Input requested

Whether Boscobel follows Richland Center’s example or pursues some other option, the time to figure out a plan is now, according to Misty Molzof,  Boscobel’s city administrator.

“It’s still really preliminary and at this point there’s no real process in place yet,” she said, “but people need to tell their elected and city officials, ‘here’s what we want,’” she said.

The city has established an email,, to compile input.

“At the end of the day, it all comes down to money,” said Molzof. “If we have a plan and ideas are brought forth, we can start to look for money.” In addition to donations and city revenue, various grants are available for these types of projects, she said.

Like most municipally owned pools, Boscobel’s operates at a loss. The annual budget sits around $97,000, and typical revenue is $25,000 to $28,000. But pools offer cities several advantages, aside from the obvious recreational value. As Richland Center demonstrates, a well-designed pool can bring people into the city. It also tends to raise neighboring property values, according to numerous studies.

Summer days

In the meantime, the old pool will serve us, barring the unforeseen, for at least another five years. (It will need to be sandblasted, inspected, and repainted at that time.)

And if 2022 is like any other year, we’ll splash through another summer of memories at the city pool.